Atlanta is a great food city, home to fine dining from James Beard Award-winners (Chai Pani, Lazy Betty and more) and Top Chef contestants (Gunshow), as well as some of the best burgers you’re ever likely to try (Vortex, Slutty Vegan). Many British visitors simply pass through Hartsfield-Jackson airport en route to other US destinations, but food alone is reason enough to spend the weekend.
Start at the Brunch Mile, a stretch of restaurants along Main Street, in downtown College Park. The Breakfast Boys is one of the best, where options range from the indulgent (jerk chicken with sweet potato waffles) to the virtuous (shrimp, kale and quinoa wrap).
As lunchtime approaches, head across town to Decatur, a charming northeastern suburb, where on Decatur Square you’ll find Brick Store Pub. The tap list at this craft beer bar is a who’s-who of the best Georgia-based breweries, including Creature Comforts, while the food menu features pub classics such as ale-battered fish and chips. If it’s not too early for cocktails, two gin-based options, the Aviation (with maraschino, crème de voilette and lemon) and Corpse Reviver #2 (with lemon, Cocchi Americano, dry curaçao and absinthe) are outstanding.
For dinner, head to Atlanta’s West Midtown district, a formerly industrial area where a formidable dining scene has emerged over the past two decades. Among the warehouses, revamped and reborn as award-winning restaurants, Miller Union is a sleek spot where James Beard Award-winner Steven Satterfield serves showstoppers such as farm egg baked in celery cream, and roasted poulet rouge with peas, fava beans, bok choi, dandelions and spring onion. The seasonal vegetable plate, along with stellar desserts from chef Claudia Martinez, are also a must.
The next morning, make your way to the hip Old Fourth Ward, where Ponce City Market is a chic dining, retail, residential and office complex within a converted department store. Here, a branch of Spiller Park, a coffee kiosk run by a veteran barista, sells perfectly made macchiatos and shaken iced lattes along with signature toasts (avocado with radish and gooey fried egg should hit the spot). Upstairs, stroll part of the Atlanta BeltLine — an old railway line that’s now a greenway — accessible from the building.
Further north, in Buckhead, St Cecilia is an elegant spot for lunch. The decor is all high ceilings, tall windows and accents of cream and gold, while the menu is inspired by coastal Mediterranean cuisines. Pick from a mouth-watering selection of pastas, including orzo with lobster, or go for the wood-grilled swordfish with broccolini.
For a final dinner in the city, head up to Buford Highway, where more than 100 restaurants represent a variety of international cultures. Don’t miss Plaza Fiesta, a small shopping mall bursting with stalls selling tacos, arepas, pastries, fruit cocktail cups and other Latin American street foods.
Wexas offers a 13-night Rhythms of the Deep South self-drive tour from £2,905 per person, with flights, car hire and mostly room-only accommodation, including two nights in Atlanta.
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